Because Christmas falls on a Wednesday this particular year, the boy wakes on Monday without any particular plans. On Sunday they had done their Sunday things – church and lunch at Nana’s house. On Tuesday they would do Christmas Eve things. Monday, the day in between, begins empty. It will be a long time, a … Continue reading Christmas, 1940.
Once upon a time, a long time ago, for a very short time, I lived in Jackson, Wyoming. I was a squatter, a gypsy, camped out in my little sister's basement on a futon with a wooden wine crate for a bedside table, just like in college. Only I was 30 years old, still clinging … Continue reading Big Don and the vagabond days.
What began with The Shining, released on Memorial Day weekend, ended, a week after Labor Day, with Ordinary People. In between were Caddyshack, The Blue Lagoon, Airplane!, Brubaker, Urban Cowboy and He Knows You're Alone. It was the summer of Luke and Laura, of Funkytown, Magic and Sailing. The United States led a 65-country boycott … Continue reading Summer 1980.
The key, I say, is to start with a good anchor and then keep it simple; let simple words do the work so you can remember: I'm going on a trip, and I'm taking an alligator. I'm going on a trip, and I'm taking an alligator and a ball, she says. I'm going on a … Continue reading The red balloon.
Opals were meant to be worn only by those for whom opal was their birthstone, that's what my mother said. But I loved opals, loved their mystery, their hologram-like coloring. So I used my babysitting money to buy an opal ring from Lowell Hays Jewelers. It was a dainty ring, the setting bright, yellow gold, … Continue reading The iridescent shimmer of 12.
I saw my 29 year old self this week, standing underneath the replica of Sue, the dinosaur, in the United Airlines Customer Service line, Terminal 1, O'Hare. She, young me, was explaining to the customer service agent, nicely at first, that she'd missed her connection and really needed to get home. Wasn't there any way … Continue reading 100 years of solitude.
Sophie Coors, the Southern folk-style artist, taught my sister to blow spit bubbles. They were at some fancy seated luncheon, the kind with strict expectations for behavior - a wedding or graduation party or New Year's formal event that required Margaret's attendance, participation and compliance. Margaret was not the compliant type, especially not at that … Continue reading The solace of a Southern kitchen.
Fourth grade was my favorite year of school either because Mrs. Rutherford, whom I adored, was my teacher or because Mrs. Rutherford read to us, among many other books, From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, one of my favorite books of all time, ever. Looking back, I should have loved 4th grade … Continue reading Tales of 4th grade everything.